May 27, 2021
The Canadian team nominated to represent Team Canada at the 2020/2021 Olympic Games in the 470 class are Jacob Saunders from Chester, NS and Oliver Bone from Montreal. Away from international competition since the Miami World Cup held in January 2020, the team warmed up this month at the 470 Class Open European Championships starting Sunday in Vilamoura, Portugal where they got to shake out the cobwebs out but didn’t fair quite as well as expected.
Jacob Saunders and Oliver Bone, Olympians from the 2016 and 2008 Games, respectively, will compete against close to 30 teams that represent around 20 countries from all over the world.
Jacob provides the back story:
“I began racing Optimist then moved to the 420 before beginning a 470 Olympic Campaign in 2010. I won National Championships in both the Opti and 420 and competed at world championships in both classes. I raced 470s for six years with my brother Graeme, culminating in the Rio 2016 Olympics. Since Rio I returned to Dal and finished my engineering degree and just began racing 470s again this winter with Oliver.
“We began planning our comeback in the fall of 2019. We have been working closely with our good friends Stu McNay and Dave Hughes from the USA and were using their equipment in Miami.
“The regatta was eventful for sure. On day two we were racing in strong, cold northerly winds and had catastrophic gear failure that meant we missed both races. On the last downwind of the first race of the day, our shroud snapped and the mast came down, destroying the mast partners in the process. We got a tow in from one of the American coaches (thanks again Leandro!!) and rigged up a spare boat with a spare mast for the rest of the regatta. We raced well and were able to come out on top of 3 Canadian and 3 Mexican teams to secure the spot for Canada at Tokyo 2020, and lead the Canadian Olympic Team Selection Trials.
“Oliver, who competed in the Beijing Olympics was my coach when I started racing 420s at age 16, and coached me at the Junior Worlds in Brazil, where I first got the inspiration to pursue Olympic sailing. Now we have teamed up for the first time and are really enjoying sailing together.